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Russian Fairy Tales [Paperback]

Aleksandr Afanas'ev
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 23.00
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Book Description

Sept. 12 1976 Pantheon Fairy Tale & Folklore Library

Translated by Norbert Guterman
Illustrated with black-and-white line drawings by Alexander Alexeieff
Part of the Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library

In this most comprehensive collection of classic Russian tales available in English we meet both universal fairy-tale figures—thieves and heroes, kings and peasants, beautiful damsels and terrifying witches, enchanted children and crafty animals—and such uniquely Russian characters as Koshchey the Deathless, Baba Yaga, the Swan Maiden, and the glorious Firebird. The more than 175 tales culled from a centuries-old Russian storytelling tradition by the outstanding Russian ethnographer Aleksandr Afanas’ev reveal a rich, robust world of the imagination that will fascinate readers both young and old.


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Russian Fairy Tales + The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories
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Review

“Rambunctious, full-blooded, and temperamental, these stories are tense with action, magical, and human. They are gorgeous.”
—Eudora Welty
 
“The oral folk tradition in Russia was truly a magic spring [that] flowed inexhaustibly, reviving, consoling, and enlightening all who partook of it . . . These stories have an ingenuity that marks them as uniquely Russian.”
Time
 
 “A beautiful book. I recommend it to all readers, young and old, who are interested in the folktale and its unique qualities.”
—Isaac Bashevis Singer, The New York Times Book Review

“Luckily someone garnered these jewels before they were lost [and] bound them into one volume before they disappeared . . . It is filled with action, magic, and humanity.”
St. Louis Globe-Democrat

From the Back Cover

"A beautiful book. I recommend it to all readers, young and old, who are interested in the folktale and its unique qualities." -- Isaac Bashevis Singer, The New York Times Book Review

"Luckily someone garnered these jewels before they were lost, bound them into one volume before they disappeared...it is filled with action, magic, and humanity...." -- St. Louis Globe-Democrat

"The oral folk tradition in Russia was truly a magic spring. As in the fairy tale, it flowed inexhaustibly, reviving, consoling, and enlightening all who partook of it... these stories have an ingenuity that marks them as uniquely Russian."


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
ONCE THERE WAS a wealthy merchant who traded in rare and precious goods, traveling with his wares every year to foreign lands. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I have owned since 1975 a copy of an earlier, hardcover, reprint edition of this superb collection, which was originally published in 1945. I have used it for both light reading and for serious study (while in courses on Baltic and Slavic Folklore and Folktale Studies). The selection and translation of stories both seem first-rate. (For the latter, I have had to rely on the opinions of those who actually read Russian, instead of just having studied it in school). The accompanying illustrations are properly enchanting -- and only occasionally are placed where they give away the point of the story.
The only real drawback is that it is still merely a selection from about three volumes (depending on the edition you prefer) of "skazki." This is the Russian term for oral tales of marvels, adventures, and misadventures, equivalent to the German "Maerchen." In both cases, the English term "Fairy Tale" is the conventional, but not really adequate, translation. (As usual in large collections, only a handful of tales concern anything like fairies.) One of the requirements for the selection seems to have been that the tales chosen should be acceptable to American parents in the 1940s, but otherwise the considerable variety of the original seems to have been largely preserved. The suggested reader age of "9 to 12" conceals the pleasure that adult readers with interests in folklore or Russian culture will derive from the volume. Fortunately, they may be lead to it by the fine supplementary material at the end, although this is now half a century old.
Afanas'ev (various transliterations) was one of the many nineteenth-century collectors inspired by the Grimms,.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A huge collection June 16 2000
Format:Paperback
What the Grimm Brothers did for fairy tales in Germany, Afanas'ev did for Russia. Over the course of his lifetime(1826-1871), he collected countless of these wonderful little stories from common folk, just as the Grimms did. This collection contains stories of adventure and enchantment, animal fables and more. Included are stories of Vasilissa and Baba Yaga, the witch whose house was built on chicken feet, and the famous story of the giant turnip. There's even some stories about vampires. But be prepared, this book is huge! And every bit of it distinctly Russian.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lost in Translation Feb. 18 2011
Format:Paperback
It would seem that whatever style or flair that may have existed in the original texts have been completely lost in this translation. There are times when it seems that it was translated with some kind of software rather than a person who should understand the nuances and meanings of the words, transforming them into English in a meaningful way. Some stories make no sense whatsoever. A very disappointing effort that caused the book to be put away after several attempts.
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